THE TOMORROW WAR (2021)
Starring Chris Pratt, Yvonne Strahovski, JK Simmons, Betty Gilpin, Sam Richardson, Edwin Hodge, Jasmine Mathews, Ryan Kiera Armstrong, Keith Powers, Theo Von, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Seychelle Gabriel, Mike Mitchell, Alan Trong, Chibuikem Uche, Felisha Terrell, Melissa Saint-Amand, Gary Weeks and Rose Bianco.
Screenplay by Zach Dean.
Directed by Chris McKay.
Distributed by Amazon Studios. 138 minutes. Rated PG-13.
Somewhere, slightly in the future, maybe they will make a movie in which aliens visit the Earth and don’t destroy everything and kill everyone. Maybe even there will be sympathetic aliens. You remember those? However, for now, in the movies, at least, they just come and ravage the place.
In general, I’ve pretty much had it with post-apocalyptic films. Therefore, in the rare occasion where one is actually pretty good, it’s a reason to celebrate.
The Tomorrow War is one of those reasons. It takes a boilerplate sci-fi premise – hordes of creepy tentacled creatures destroying the world – and actually give it a bit of cleverness, nuance, humor and originality. It’s not perfect, but it does have some interesting new wrinkles that make it stand out. It’s slightly cheesy b-filmmaking dolled up in a blockbuster’s clothing, big, action-packed and a little dumb, but it wears its genre trappings well.
And it adds in a time travel element, which can only help.
The Tomorrow War takes place in two different time frames. The current day and the near future (2051). Essentially, one day soldiers from the future come back to tell the world that the entire Earth will be destroyed in 30 years if some people from the past don’t come to help fight off an alien species which has been decimating the world.
A draft is formed, and huge groups of people from 2021 are taken to the future to fight off the threat. Most never seem to return.
Our hero is Dan Forester (Chris Pratt in his typical nice-guy blockbuster hero mode). Dan is a college professor served two tours of duty in Iraq, but time in the Middle East couldn’t totally prepare him for what he is about to experience. He is hooked up with a rag tag group of “fighters” – most of whom are even less qualified for their mission than he is.
And that’s pretty much it. People in the present and the future fight together to save the Earth. It’s nothing you’ve never seen before, and yet somehow it kind of works. The creatures are kind of generic scary monsters – all tentacles and teeth – but they are disquieting.
The Tomorrow War does not always play by the time travel rule book, and frankly it’s a bit better because of it. It’s supposed to take place in the dawn of the time travel era, so much is still not understood about it, giving lots of limitations to the abilities the people have. For example, you can’t just pop in at a specific time or place. This timeline is parallel – you can only go to that specific time in the future and any time you spend there you lose in the past.
It’s not a perfect movie by any means, but as a shut off your mind and enjoy blockbuster, it is better than most. I could still live without a whole bunch of movies about rampaging aliens destroying the world, but if you want to see one, The Tomorrow War is better than most.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2021 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: July 2, 2021.